12 Days of Giveaways - Spin & Win! Sign up before Dec. 25th to win daily prizes and a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card. Find out details.

Religion Today Summaries, December 6, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, December 6, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • Decision in Free Speech Case Will Have Implications for All Peaceful Protests
  • Attacks on Missionaries Continue in India 
  • Youth Group Involvement Develops Higher Self-esteem, Study Says

Decision in Free Speech Case Will Have Implications for All Peaceful Protests

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in Scheidler v. NOW, the infamous case involving the misapplication of racketeering laws to silence pro-life protests.  Law professors and a host of activist groups have agreed that the verdict of the case has implications not only for pro-life groups but also for all who wish to exercise their right of free speech in peaceful protest.  NOW, the National Organization for Women, marked the occasion by planning a demonstration outside the court building on Capitol Hill.  "The irony is that NOW exercised the very rights it is seeking to deny to others," Connor said.  "The hypocrisy is breathtaking."  NOW has sought to silence peaceful pro-life protests outside abortion clinics by filing a RICO action against abortion protestors.  The Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) was intended to be used to combat the Mafia, but NOW nevertheless prevailed in the lower courts.  NOW calls peaceful protests "campaigns of terror against abortion clinics."  NOW even denies that peaceful pro-life protests are protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.  "We can only hope the court comes to its senses and rules against NOW," Connor said.

Attacks on Missionaries Continue in India

(Charisma News Service) Four native missionaries were recently attacked on their way to a village in Tamil Nadu for an evangelistic gathering.  According to Gospel for Asia (GFA), a group threatened to cut off the head of one of the believers identified only as Sam if he ever returned to the village.  Two of the missionaries -- who were planning to conduct an open-air meeting and pass out gospel tracts -- sustained severe internal injuries.  "Please pray for them to heal quickly and to find their encouragement in the Lord," GFA officials said in an e-mail to supporters.  "And pray for Brother Sam, who is a Gospel for Asia correspondent.  As he travels to Tamil Nadu to collect stories and pictures for publication, he will most likely have to pass through that village again."  Elsewhere, a GFA Bible school student was recently attacked for conducting his weekly Sunday school for 25 children and distributing tracts.  According to GFA officials, the believer identified only as Naran was harassed by a group of eight young men in Karnataka state for trying to convert them to Christianity.  www.charismanews.com

Youth Group Involvement Develops Higher Self-esteem, Study Says
Erin Curry

(Baptist Press) Regular religious service attendance, high subjective importance of faith and years spent in religious youth groups are clearly associated with high self-esteem and positive self-attitudes, according to a recent survey by the National Study of Youth and Religion.  U.S. 12th graders who participated in religious youth groups for at least six years are more likely to have positive attitudes toward themselves and feel that they have something to be proud of than those who had never participated in youth groups, according to the report released Dec. 4.  Similarly, high school seniors who participated in youth groups for any number of years are significantly more likely to feel good to be alive and to enjoy school than those who have never been in a religious youth group.  "Part of the reason is because of the community that's built," said Robbie Robison, who was a Southern Baptist youth pastor. "Everybody is hungry for a sense of belonging and community.  Schools are so big that youth groups help break the kids down to some sense of relationship and connection, especially if they're part of Sunday School, a discipleship group or retreats.   www.bpnews.net